Sunday afternoon dozens witnessed a true outpouring of community spirit as an 18-wheeler tractor trailer, which traveled all the way from Pascagoula, Mississippi, arrived in front of the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department loaded with donated supplies for the Hurricane Sandy victims of Moonachie and Little Ferry.
When the town of Pascagoula was devastated by Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, the Hasbrouck Heights firefighters stepped in to help, sending them supplies, monetary donations and even the use of one of their fire trucks.
Now the people of Pascagoula and their surrounding community have stepped in to help Hasbrouck Heights’ next door neighbors who were flooded out during Hurricane Sandy.
It took a lot of hands to empty the truck which was filled with everything and anything including a large generator and a countless amount of clothing, toys, cleaning supplies and more. It wasn’t long before a huge pile of supplies covered an entire wall in the firehouse. Items will be distributed to Moonachie and Little Ferry flood victims and some down in south Jersey as well.
Lynn Newbill, who drove the truck all the way from Mississippi, said it took two days to reach Hasbrouck Heights. The company he works for, F&H Trucking of the town of Gautier, Miss., donated the truck and time to get the supplies up north. He says about four or five fire departments were involved in taking up the collection.
Newbill says the people in Mississippi can truly sympathize as they’ve been through the very same thing.
“They are real good people,” Hasbrouck Heights first assistant fire chief Pat Hayes said of their friends in Mississippi. With all the negative things that can go on in the world it’s nice to see something like this take place, the chief said.
Tom Meli, who was fire commissioner back in 2005 when Heights reached out to help Pascagoula, said “communities giving to communities” is the way it should be.
Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department had immediately reached out to help its neighbors when Sandy severely devastated their towns. Moonachie First Aid and Rescue has been using their firehouse for the past three weeks since Sandy took their home.
Frank Smith, captain of the Moonachie First Aid and Rescue, said they owe a lot to Hasbrouck Heights for taking them in. Smith said the Heights firefighters have done everything for them including giving them supplies, a place to shower and sleep and then some.
“We will be forever grateful. They are a great bunch of men and women,” said Smith of their Hasbrouck Heights neighbors.
Community outpouring has been non-stop since Sandy hit with many local groups taking up collections and donations for the victims in Moonachie and Little Ferry. As items were being carried off the 18-wheeler a cart full of supplies were also dropped off at the firehouse from Boy Scouts Troop 17 in Hasbrouck Heights.
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